Gov. Beshear recommends people in public wear masks. Here’s what that means.

Posted at 3:16 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 17:57:19-04

NEWPORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendation for Kentuckians to wear face masks when in public goes into effect on Monday.

In a news conference earlier this month, Beshear said that while wearing a mask is not a requirement, it is something he is "strongly recommending."

“This is something that we’re going to be very, very strongly recommending to the general public. You really need to do it to protect one another,” Beshear said.

No one will be penalized for not wearing a mask, Beshear said, but store managers can ask shoppers to leave if they do not wear a mask. Some stores, like Costco, are requiring all shoppers to wear one.

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Brad Baker, manager of Ace Hardware in Newport, said his store is asking customers to wear masks. Baker said the vast majority of people already have them on.

“So far I’d say 95% of people are wearing masks that are walking in,” Baker said.

Baker said while masks are recommended, the store won’t turn customers away if they’re not wearing one.

“Sometimes we’ll bring it up, like, ‘Hey, do you have a mask you could probably wear,’” Baker said.

Northern Kentucky Health Department officials recommend wearing a face mask anytime someone is in a public setting, especially when it’s difficult to maintain a safe distance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should wear cloth masks over the nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus.

Baker said he is only asking that customers keep everyone’s safety in mind.

“We can’t be open if we’re getting sick and everything else,” Baker said. “As long as they’re wearing a mask, we’re wearing a mask, and we’re keeping everyone healthy and safe then it allows us to stay open and keep going.”

Several Northern Kentucky law enforcement agencies said they won’t cite anyone not wearing masks in stores, and they’ll only get involved if a store or business owner asks for their help.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 response in Kentucky.